The New Zealand dollar was one of the best performers after inflation beat forecasts. Elsewhere, most major currency pairs remained in recent ranges as geopolitical concerns and French election risks are keeping investors cautious.
Inflation in New Zealand accelerated to 2.2% year-on-year versus 2.0% expected and was the highest in five years. On the quarter, CPI rose 1.0% versus 0.8% expected. Soon after the release of the data the kiwi surged against its U.S. counterpart to $0.7043 and held gains throughout the session.
In other data, Japan’s trade balance total for March came above expectations and exports rose at the fastest rate in more than two years in March.
The dollar briefly rose above the 109-yen level but remained in the upper 108 range. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve released the Beige Book, which is its report on the U.S. economy. It was quite upbeat and this helped lift U.S. Treasury yields and supported the greenback.
The euro remained in the $1.0700 handle and edged up towards $1.0740 by the European open. Larger gains for the euro are expected to be limited ahead of this weekend’s French vote.
Centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron held onto his lead in the latest polls and is a favourite to win Sunday’s first round. A Macron victory is perceived to be positive for the euro.
WTI oil slid over $2 after the data, to fall below $51 a barrel and Brent crude dipped below $53 a barrel. Both benchmarks steadied in Asian trading today.
Looking to the rest of the day, focus will be on data out of the U.S., which include jobless claims and the Philly Fed manufacturing index. Attention will also be paid to a speech by Bank of England Governor Mark Carney who will be speaking in Washington DC later in the day. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will also be making a speech in Washington DC at a separate event.
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